green living

Cut Cooling Costs Without Sacrificing Your Indoor Cat’s Comfort

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During the hot summer months, it goes without saying that you need to take precautions for your outdoor pets to protect them from heat stroke and other heat related problems, but even indoor cats require special attention, especially if you’re trying to save on cooling costs by turning the air conditioning up when you’re not at home.

TXU and the SPCA of Texas recommend that pet parents set thermostats no higher than  78-80 degrees, and advise against turning off the air conditioner altogether. If your cat has a health condition, be sure to check with your vet on a good temperature setting. A programmable thermostat can make controlling your indoor temperature easy. With some models, you can even control your thermostat via your smartphone.

TXU offers the following tips to save energy during the summer and still keep your cats safe and comfortable:Continue Reading

Book review: Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health by Michael W. Fox

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Let me start this review by saying that Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health: Earth Care and Human Care is not a cat book. So why am I reviewing it here? Because it is an amazing book that touches on so many things that matter a great deal to me: conscious living, animal health, human health, the health of our planet, the health care crisis for both animals and humans, and the many pitfalls of commercial pet food, to name just a few.

Michael Fox is a veterinarian best known for his syndicated “Animal Doctor” column. Born in England, the former vice president of The Humane Society of the United States and the author of more than 40 adult and children’s books on animal care, animal behavior and bioethics, is a renowned advocate of animal rights and a sharp and eloquent critic of the biotechnology industry. As a professor, bioethicist and veterinarian, Dr. Fox has spearheaded the movement to foster the ethical treatment of animals and the environment since 1967.

His new book presents a vision of a worldContinue Reading

Harmony House for Cats combines cat-friendly and green design

 Harmony House for Cats New Shelter Press Release Photo

Here on The Conscious Cat, we’re all about conscious living. Conscious living means making choices that are in alignment with our value system, and for me, that also includes “green living:” making decisions that benefit our planet. When green living and cats come together, it’s definitely a reason to celebrate.

When I received the press release about Harmony House for Cats announcing its grand opening of their new eco-friendly shelter, I was intrigued, and asked for more information. The shelter, which will open on July 8, is slated to be Chicago’s first “net zero energy” commercial building. Net zero energy means that the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable energy sources over the course of one year is equal or  greater than the amount of energy used by the building. The building uses cutting edge geothermal wells, solar thermal panels and  solar photovoltaics technology to accomplish this.Continue Reading

Go Green for a Healthier Cat and a Happier Planet

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Today is Earth Day, and it’s a good day to remember what going green means: making conscious choices every day about protecting our environment. Recycling, buying organic, and using eco-friendly products are only some of the everyday choices that contribute to a healthier planet.

You can also help the planet by making choices for your cat that will not only benefit the planet, but will also keep your cat healthy.

Feed natural and organic food

Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, Continue Reading

Go Green for Your Cat

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You recycle, buy organic, and use eco-friendly products for yourself, so wouldn’t it make sense to make similar choices for your cat? There are many ways you can help the planet by going green for your cat.

Recycle

Do you have a lot of old cat toys your cats never play with anymore? What about beds, or litter boxes, or even old towels? Your local shelter or private rescue group will appreciate the donation. Be sure to call first to see what they need.

Feed natural foods

Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, which means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients.

Use pet-friendly cleaning products

Many household cleaners contain contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum based chemicals which can release volatile organic compounds  into your indoor air. Some ingredients in household cleaners are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected human carcinogens. Inappropriate use, storage and disposal of these hazardous household substances may impact your personal health and the health of our environment.  Lysol, Pine-sol and other products containing phenols are deadly to cats as they can cause serious liver damage.  Chlorox bleach, especially when concentrated, can cause chemical burns when it comes in contact with sensitive cat paws. Use cat friendly products instead.

Use chemical free pest and parasite control methods

Many of the flea and tick treatments available today contain toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to pets and to people.  Even when these products are used according to the manufacturer’s directions, these chemicals are not safe for pets or humans. There are natural and safe options to control parasites.

Don’t wear shoes inside your house

Have you ever gone for a walk in your neighborhood, and every yard you passed just had chemical fertilizer applied? That same fertilizer will stick to the bottom of your shoes, and can present a danger to your cats. They will absorb these chemicals when they lick their paws. It’s better to take shoes off right inside your front door, rather than spreading those chemicals all through your house.

Use eco-friendly cat litter

If your cat will accept one of the alternatives to clay litter such as corn, wheat or pine-based litters, make the switch.  Clay is strip-mined, which is bad for the planet, and clay litter contains silica, which is a known carcinogenic. However, don’t make the switch at the expense of your cat’s litter box habits. Some cats will simply refuse to use the new litters, and no amount of going green is worth risking having your cat avoid the litter box.

Buy or make your own eco-friendly toys

The possibilities are endless, from an empty toilet paper roll to bottle caps to wadded up balls of aluminum foil. If you need ideas, Holly Tse’s book Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time is a great resource. If you don’t want to make your own, there are many eco-friendly cat toys available at various retailers.

Happy Earth Day!

Product highlight: Clean+Green all natural cleaning products

Clean+Green natural cleaning products

Many commercial cleaning products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly, to pets.  Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur. 

While it’s getting easier to find natural and eco-friendly cleaning products, even in regular grocery stores, not all of these products may be safe to use around cats. In particular, stay away from products containing essential oils. Even though many manufacturers of essential oils claim that they are safe to use around cats, this is not always the case. Tea tree oil especially can be deadly to cats.

As a result, I’m always looking for “all natural” cleaners that are truly safe to use around cats. When the folks at Sea-Yu Enterprises® offered to send me a couple of their Clean+Green® cleaners to test, I was more than happy to accept.

Sea-Yu’s eco-friendly cleaning products are made from organic and biodegradable ingredients. They’re even packaged in recyclable containers. Their ingredients are labeled “cosmetics safe”, and they disclose the ingredients on their website. The only thing I didn’t like was  the “proprietary blend of botanical extracts.” I understand that companies need to protect their unique formulas, but I would prefer to see a complete list of ingredients.

The Clean+Green product line includes concrete & grout, furniture refresher, wood & tile, carpet & upholstery, and litter box odor eliminators and spot removers.

I tested the carpet & upholstery product on my off-white carpet, and while I didn’t have any fresh stains to test it on (and I wasn’t about to ask Allegra to create some for me especially for this product test!), I used it on some very old stains of indeterminate origin (most likely source: cat vomit). Even though I try to avoid chemically based cleaners, I had used everything from Resolve® to OxyClean® to hydrogen peroxide without making much of a difference. A couple of treatments with Clean+Green’s carpet & upholstery cleaner, and much to my surprise, the stains actually disappeared. You can’t ask for an easier application: just spray and allow the area dry. No need for scrubbing or blotting.

And the best part? The product is completely unscented. I don’t like scented cleaning products of any kind, whether they’re chemically based or natural, and I’m guessing if cats had their say, they’d prefer unscented products, too.

They also sent me the furniture refresher product. I can’t say that I’ve ever had any need for a product to refresh my furniture – I’m thinking that’s more of an issue with dogs than it is with cats. So the most I can say about my experience with it is that it, too, meets my requirement for being completely scent-free.

You can learn more about the Clean+Green product line on their website, and you can find them on Facebook and on Twitter.

The company sent me products for review.

You may also enjoy reading:

Pet-Friendly cleaning tips

Two reasons not to use dryer sheets

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for our planet.  Living our lives in ways that honor and cherish Planet Earth is a key part of conscious living.   What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?  Share your stories!

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you enjoy this video, created by the producers of The Secret, featuring our beautiful planet:

httpv://youtu.be/8jP8CC2rKj4